Houselights drama group wow with production of Woyzeck

Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School's Houselights drama group

Students from Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School’s Houselights drama group have wowed audiences with their latest production Woyzeck

The student-led production was pulled together in less than three weeks but was praised for having a flair and professionalism which pushed it beyond amateur dramatics.

Drama teacher Adrian Smith said: “This was our third Houselights production and the first to be entirely produced and directed by our members. It was also the last performance for some of our founder members.

“They were joined by some of the new generation and two of our international students -which meant we even had audience members travelling by train from Switzerland to see the show.

“The production was a sight to behold with beautiful costumes designed and sourced by Ruby Redwood and supported by our expanding backstage team. With 10,000 leaves scattered across the studio floor it was not only a show to remember but possibly one of the biggest clean-up operations at the end of each night.

“A special mention goes to two of our most heroic cast members: Hope Baxter and Lola Walton.

“Hope, who played the lead female Marie, was incredibly ill on our opening night. She had been unable to speak throughout the day but was desperate not to let the cast down. She went ahead and performed with so much energy and commitment that our audience were oblivious to the fact she was so poorly.

“Virtually collapsing after the show, there was a brief moment of crisis and cancellation or postponement had been suggested. Hope was devastated. However, a couple of cast members volunteered to learn the role ready for the following evening. As Lola had previously stepped in during a few rehearsals she seemed the natural choice. She gave a seamless performance.

“I have to say, in all my years teaching drama, I have never known such a tight cast. Lea Smith and Jed Silk made a superb team and did a fantastic job of directing the show, with veterans such as the astounding Sam Mountford and the ever-dependable Lennon Button helping to set the tone and lead our less experienced cast by example.

“The camaraderie, commitment and focus throughout the production was truly a pleasure to behold. My only concern is, based on the truly excellent standard of their work, I am afraid they may have made me redundant.”

Audience member and Thanet music and drama stalwart, Lynn Myhill added: “The acting and ensemble work was superb. I was so impressed at their concentration and in the creation and maintaining of their own characteristics, yet their utter togetherness in ensemble sections.

“This was an excellent evening’s entertainment, and the whole team should be congratulated.”

Cast: Sam Mountford, Hope Baxter, Victoria Tolley, Harriet Tyman, Jed Silk, George Pearson, Alicia Gasser, Bobby Pearse, Lennon Searle, Frankie Joyner, Lola Walton, Summer Scholes, Freya Bartlam-Morgan, Madeline Sales, Erin Gardner, Emma Huttley, Daniel Young, Luke Gore, Camilla Comincioli

Production team: Lea Smith, Jed Silk, Ruby Redwood, Tara Vidal von Ronn, Jaan Richards, Lauren Kirby, Audrey Benjamin, Grace Williams, Lilly Howse, Bessie Molyneux, and Mr Smith and Mrs Cackett